Osteoporosis is serious disease that affects many men and women...mostly women though. And although it is generally thought of as a disease of the elderly, it can strike at any age...especially if you have some of the risk factors such as:
Family history of osteoporosis or broken bones
Being small framed
Being overly thin
Low calcium and vitamin D intake
Excessive intake of protein, sodium, or caffeine
Now most of our bone mass has already been formed- about 85% of it by the time girls are 18. However there are still things you can do to protect yourself!
The easiest thing is to eat a diet rich in both calcium and vitamin D. Now calcium is what will really help your bones, however it can not be absorbed if the body does not have an adequate supply of vitamin D...so all that milk you chugged would be for nothing! (Unless it was fortified with Vitamin D...some are, so check your labels!) So think of calcium and vitamin D as BFFs that must go together. Here is some more on calcium and vitamin D...
Calcium is most famous for giving our bones their strength, but did you know that they also keep our teeth healthy, prevent hemorrhages in our bloodstreams, and plays a crucial role in transferring light to chemical impulses in the retina?
cheddar, swiss, or american cheese
fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel
collard greens, cooked kale, broccoli
cooked beans such as great northern, navy, or pinto
almonds & peanuts
Vitamin D is most famous for helping us to absorb calcium but did you know that it also helps joint pain, relieves back pain, and can also prevent certain types of cancer? And did you know that your body naturally makes Vitamin D? Your body has to be exposed to sunlight though! Just about an hour a week is all it takes!
fish such as herring, catfish, oysters, salmon, trout, halibut, sardines, tuna, or mackerel
some cereals (check the label!)
Now another easy thing to do to try and prevent osteoporosis is to do weight-bearing exercises such as running, jogging, dancing, walking, stair-climbing, hiking, and racquet sports. So pick one of those to try this week at least once!
Remember that osteoporosis is a silent disease- none of us can really feel our bones getting weaker! So make sure that no matter how old you are, today you commit to doing all you can to increase and maintain your bone density!